Cyclones Offer Florida Tailback

The Cyclones' stellar track record with running backs from the state of Florida may pay off in them getting yet another talented senior from the Sunshine State. Tailbacks from the past and present like Troy Davis, Darren Davis, Hiawatha Rutland and Brian Thompson have been given plenty of opportunities to succeed in Ames.

That list may continue to grow if Iowa State can land tailback Mike West, a 6-foot-1, 200-pounder out of Citra's North Marion High School. The Cyclones, who will likely sign just one tailback in the Class of 2003, offered West a scholarship Tuesday night.

"They offered me and I'm really excited," said West, who is also a standout safety for North Marion. "They offer a lot of stuff to running backs. I guess they've got a pretty good running back next year. I have watched two of their games already this year."

West has rushed for more than 1,500 yards on 230 carries this season and scored 15 touchdowns. On defense he racked up 65 tackles and one interception for North Marion, which opens the Class 3A state playoffs on Friday night against Crestview.

Cyclone coaches have made it clear that they want West to begin his college career at tailback.

"I like to run north and south, and just get positive yards," he said. "I like to run it up in there and don't like to go east and west too much. They've seen the film on me and have liked the way I perform. I went to the NIKE camp over the summer and a lot of the coaches know I went to it, so word has gotten around."

In addition to ISU, Southern Mississippi, Troy State, Central Florida, South Florida and Illinois State have all offered West scholarships, but that list could soon increase in number.

"I would like to go to Iowa State, Southern Miss or Central Florida," he said. "Those would be my top three right now. But I really like that Iowa State's in the Big 12 and you get a lot more people knowing about you with the TV games.

"I will find out more about Iowa State when I visit on Dec. 13 and 14. I want to check out the atmosphere, how people like the college and how the players do with their grades. I plan to major in construction engineering and knew about that program when they started recruiting me."

Central Florida will host West during the weekend of Dec. 2-3. In the near future, he expects to set up more visits. A commitment could come soon after.

"I'm going to wait to make a decision until after I take my visits," he said. "I've also got Central Florida set up. I'm going to take some others, but haven't set them up yet."

Accoring to West, the Cyclones and Coach Chris Ash are also recruiting his teammate Jermaine Thomas, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound cornerback.

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